Worlds Top 10 at Open Championship

By Associated PressJuly 17, 2007, 4:00 pm
Here's a rundown of the top-10 players as they compete at Carnoustie for the 136th Open Championship.
 

Tiger WoodsTIGER WOODS
Age: 31
Country: United States
World ranking: 1
Worldwide victories: 67
Majors: Masters (1997, 2001, 2002, 2005), U.S. Open (2000, 2002), British Open (2000, 2005, 2006), PGA Championship (1999, 2000, 2006)
Last five British Opens: 1-1-9-4-28
Last time at Carnoustie: T7
Majors in 2007: Masters-T2, U.S. Open-T2
 
DIVOT: He has a chance to have the longest winning streak in the Open since Peter Thomson (1954-56) or have the most consecutive runner-up finishes in the majors since Ernie Els (2000). The putter let him down at the Masters, his irons hurt him at Oakmont. He won't be able to keep driver in the bag like he did at Hoylake, but Woods generally thrives on tough courses, and the British Open might end up being his best major.
 
Jim FurykJIM FURYK
Age: 37
Country: United States
World ranking: 2
Worldwide victories: 15
Majors: U.S. Open (2003)
Last five British Opens: 4-MC-MC-MC-MC
Last time at Carnoustie: T10
Majors in 2007: Masters-T15, U.S. Open-T2
 
DIVOT: He is without a victory this year, but keeps putting himself in contention; the playoff loss at Colonial, the 71st hole bogey at Oakmont and last week at Congressional. His fourth-place finish last year at Liverpool showed he remembers how to play links courses. Missed the cut in four straight Opens while trying to work on a higher ball flight for his predominantly American schedule. Considered one of the toughest players, and is suited to handle the toughest links.
 
Phil MickelsonPHIL MICKELSON
Age: 37
Country: United States
World ranking: 3
Worldwide victories: 31
Majors: Masters (2004, 2006), PGA Championship (2005)
Last five British Opens: T22-T60-3-T59-T66
Last time at Carnoustie: MC
Majors in 2007: Masters-T24, U.S. Open-MC
 
DIVOT: Until Oakmont, he had not missed a cut in a major since Carnoustie. He has never played the Open very well, except for 2004, which was his best year in the majors. And he is even more of a question mark now given his injury (left wrist), his performance (missed cut) and assessment ('It's dangerous out there') at the U.S. Open. The good news is that the rough shouldn't be as thick this year. The bad news is he hasn't played on the weekend since winning The Players Championship.
 
Adam ScottADAM SCOTT
Age: 27
Country: Australia
World ranking: 4
Worldwide victories: 12
Majors: None
Last five British Opens: T8-T34-T42-MC-MC
Last time at Carnoustie: DNP
Majors in 2007: Masters-T27, U.S. Open-MC
 
DIVOT: He might be the highest-ranked player to have rarely been a threat in a major. A solid player who does everything well but nothing extraordinarily, he still hasn't shown the ability to avoid getting spooked about the biggest tournaments in golf. Won in Houston earlier this year, but didn't hold the lead at Memorial. The key for him is to start well and go from there, because he's as capable as anyone.
 
Ernie Els ERNIE ELS
Age: 37
Country: South Africa
World ranking: 5
Worldwide victories: 58
Majors: U.S. Open (1994, 1997), British Open (2002)
Last five British Opens: 3-T34-2-T18-1
Last time at Carnoustie: T24
Majors in 2007: Masters-MC, U.S. Open-T51
 
DIVOT: His last victory against top competition was more than two years ago, and he barely made a peep in the first two majors. But links golf usually brings out the best in the Big Easy, and a good attitude could go a long way at Carnoustie. He went five years between his last two majors, and in a quiet way, he could be due to end that drought. The only thing he is lacking is a good week of putting.
 
Vijay Singh VIJAY SINGH
Age: 44
Country: Fiji
World ranking: 6
Worldwide victories: 53
Majors: Masters (2000), PGA Championship (1998, 2004)
Last five British Opens: MC-5-20-2-MC
Last time at Carnoustie: MC
Majors in 2007: Masters-T13, U.S. Open-T20
 
DIVOT: The British Open is the major he desperately wants to win given his professional rebirth in the early 1990s, and time is running out. He has a nagging elbow injury that he had checked out, but then played reasonably well at Congressional. He can be a factor at Carnoustie because of his driving strength, and being in contention Sunday could inspire him to make one more run.
 
Henrik StensonHENRIK STENSON
Age: 31
Country: Sweden
World ranking: 7
Worldwide victories: 9
Majors: None
Last five British Opens: T48-T34-DNP-DNP-DNP
Last time at Carnoustie: DNP
Majors in 2007: Masters-T17, U.S. Open-MC
 
DIVOT: The big-hitting Swede hit his stride in February when he won Dubai and the Accenture Match Play Championship. His wife is expecting their first child, which might cloud his Open chances. He is a powerful player, but it remains to be seen whether he has enough variety in his game to handle the various obstacles presented in links golf.
 
Geoff OgilvyGEOFF OGILVY
Age: 30
Country: Australia
World ranking: 8
Worldwide victories: 3
Majors: U.S. Open (2006)
Last five British Opens: 16-5-DNP-DNP-DNP
Last time at Carnoustie: MC
Majors in 2007: Masters-T24, U.S. Open-T42
 
DIVOT: Winning the U.S. Open exposed him as one of the top players, although he hasn't done much to back that up. His only serious chance of winning was the Australian Open late last year and the Accenture Match Play Championship, where he lost in the final. Even so, he has been playing with more patience and poise, and he has performed well in the two Opens in which he has played.
 
Luke Donald LUKE DONALD
Age: 29
Country: England
World ranking: 9
Worldwide victories: 4
Majors: None
Last five British Opens: 35-52-MC-MC-MC
Last time at Carnoustie: MC
Majors in 2007: Masters-T10, U.S. Open-MC
 
DIVOT: Along with Paul Casey, he carries hopes for a British community that has not seen a major champion since Paul Lawrie's surprise win at Carnoustie in 1999. Fundamentally sound as a player, he is now more experienced from playing in the final group with Tiger Woods at the PGA Championship. It would help to get off to a good start. A year ago, he opened with a 74 and never quite recovered.
 
Padraig HarringtonPADRAIG HARRINGTON
Age: 35
Country: Ireland
World ranking: 10
Worldwide victories: 14
Majors: None
Last five British Opens: MC-DNP-MC-T22-T5
Last time at Carnoustie: T29
Majors in 2007: Masters-T7, U.S. Open-MC
 
DIVOT: Captured one of his biggest victories at the Irish Open, which feels like a major when one is Irish. He is another who can end Europe's drought in the majors that dates to Carnoustie in 1999. Started the final round at the Masters only two shots out of the lead, but failed to get anything going. Does well at putting his blinders on, so he's not likely to be bothered by Carnoustie's challenge.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - 136th Open Championship
  • Getty Images

    What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

    Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

    Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

    Getty Images

    Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

    Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

    While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

    The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

    So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

    Getty Images

    Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

    By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

    The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

    As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

    Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

    And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

    And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

    McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

    The Ryder Cup topped his list.

    Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

    When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

    “Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



    McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

    Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

    “The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

    European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

    And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

    The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

    Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

    And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

    Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

    The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

    The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

    More bulletin board material, too.

    Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

    Getty Images

    Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

    Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

    The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

    It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

    The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

    “I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

    Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.